Career Success

When you’re the best in the world at something, there’s nobody left to beat. If you’re Usain Bolt, you’re (literally) the fastest human being on earth and in all of history (world record holder for 100-meter dash). With whom do you compete? If you’re Michael Phelps and have more Olympic medals than anyone in history [...]

In your career, there will be a few pivotal moments when you “sell” a big idea to someone else whose decision will become an inflection point in your career. You could be “selling” your boss on the idea of promoting you, choosing you to lead a high profile project, or taking on major new responsibilities. [...]

In every McKinsey engagement, there’s a moment when the senior client says to us, “Hmm… that’s interesting.” That is the moment when the client thinks to him or herself, “Okay, maybe the $1 million consulting fee was worth it.” You might be wondering what the McKinsey team says to the client that prompts that reaction. [...]

When most people hear the words “corporate politics,” it’s usually perceived as a negative. I don’t think this is the right way to think of politics. It doesn’t matter if corporate politics is good or bad. What matters is that regardless of your view on it, it exists and must be managed in order for [...]

When I started at Stanford, I thought I wanted to major in Economics or Psychology. I took classes in both. The premise of economics is that people are rational. The premise of psychology is that people are not rational. I remember wondering… which field is right?!? It took me a decade later to come to [...]

One of the biggest revelations I’ve learned about relationships (professional and personal), I picked up years ago from McKinsey. It was such a simple yet transformative concept. Here’s the story. At McKinsey, when I worked with a new client, I would conduct a round of initial introductory meetings with each member of the executive team. [...]

All communication has three components: The words you say; The tone of voice (e.g., vocal inflections, cadence, pitch, speed, pauses); Your body language (e.g., facial expression, cross of arms or legs, posture, eye movements, breathing patterns). In general, for very simple interaction with no emotional significance between two people, most people communicate literally. That is, [...]

Several years ago, Google decided to do a “big data” analysis on a very interesting data set. They decided to analyze their human resources database. They wanted to know what kinds of Google new hires end up being promoted and becoming the leaders of the company. The idea was to figure out what’s working, and [...]

Gravitas is the elusive quality of being taken seriously. In a meeting, when you speak, do people spontaneously quiet down, listen to you, and take notes? If so, you have gravitas. If not, you have an opportunity to increase your executive presence so your ideas get taken more seriously. In every meeting, there are two [...]

Your boss walks into the conference room and is unusually harsh towards you and your colleagues. Your boss is clearly in a bad mood. At first, you might think, “Geez… he’s being such a jerk.” …and that might be true. However, let’s say you find out later that he had a family member killed in [...]

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